Highly Recommended: Liel Leibovitz On The Jewish Poetry Of Leonard Cohen

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Liel Leibovitz, author of A Broken Hallelujah: The Life of Leonard Cohen, talks about Leonard’s Jewish and family background, the biblical tradition that informs Story Of Isaac, Leonard’s perspective on and relationship with God, the significance of Hallelujah, and more. Highly recommended.

The June 23, 2018 Tikvah podcast can be heard and downloaded at Liel Leibovitz on the Jewish Poetry of Leonard Cohen

Also see Q&A With Liel Leibovitz, Author Of A Broken Hallelujah. All posts featuring Liel Leibovitz are collected at

Leonard Cohen invokes William Faulkner’s invocation of John Keats: “We all have to talk about something”


How do you feel about the fact that your work has now become curriculum at literature courses all over the world?

quoteup2
… At the beginning of my first book of poems [Let Us Compare Mythologies], I used a quotation from a short story by William Faulkner:

“All right” he said. “Listen and read again, but only one stanza this time and closed the book and laid it on the table. “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss” McCaslin said: “Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair.” “He’s talking about a girl,” he said. “He had to talk about something,” McCaslin said.

That’s from The Bear by William Faulkner. We all have to talk about something.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

DrHGuy Note: A more extensive quote from the colloquy between Ike and McCaslin in The Bear by William Faulkner may be helpful:

McCaslin . . . returned with the book and sat down again and opened it. “Listen,” he said. He read the five stanzas aloud and closed the book on his finger and looked up. “All right,” he said. “Listen,” and read again, but only one stanza this time and closed the book and laid it on the table. “She cannot fade though thou hast not thy bliss,” McCaslin said: “Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair.”

“He’s talking about a girl,” he said.

“He had to talk about something,” McCaslin said.

Then he said, “He was talking about truth. Truth is one. It doesn’t change. It covers all things which touch the heart–honor and pity and pride and justice and courage and love. Do you see now?”

The lines McCaslin reads, “She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,/ For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!” are, of course, from Ode On A Grecian Urn by John Keats.

From Oct 16, 2001 Online Chat

Note: Originally posted Dec 30, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: “Going Home” A Different Way – Leonard Cohen Sardonic In Ghent 2012

I love to speak with Leonard
He’s a sportsman he’s a shepherd
He’s a lazy bastard
Living in a suit

By altering the tone of the opening and ending verse of “Going Home” (compare to studio version) Leonard Cohen bookends an already ironic song with a comic sensibility.

Leonard Cohen – Going Home
Ghent: Aug 14, 2012
Video by

Note: Originally posted Aug 16, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on his goals when he entered college (Yes, women were involved – and poetry)


What was your goal when you entered McGill University in 1951?

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… Wine, women and song. I don’t think I had any goal at all. All the others had goals. I was talking to that friend about this the other day. We just hung out, we played pool [laughs] … We read poetry. We read it like a plan; we wanted to understand what truly living was about. Poetry was sacred writing; the Law. One had to live according to the Law. But for us poetry was also related to drinking and picking up girls [laughs] … Montreal was ideal for that; with good hang-outs, some cafes where you could drink cheaply, bring your guitar and sing. To live the life that poems spoke of: freedom, love, those kinds of things.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Photo of McGill University by Laslovarga – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted January 13, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: Online Promotion 2013 Louisville Show


Promotion for March 30, 2013 Leonard Cohen concert in Louisville. Originally posted January 10, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric